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Chigwell Nursery

HIGH ROAD, CHIGWELL, ESSEX, IG7 5BL

020 8500 2690

chigwellnurseryinfo@gmail.com

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Wildlife-Friendly Plants

There are around 250 species of bees native to the UK. Of the 27 species of bumblebee, 3 are already extinct,

 and many more are under threat, largely due to loss of habitat.

 

The plight of Britain’s bees (and indeed bees around the world) has been well-documented recently, and many of us are very aware of how devastating the impact of losing such vast numbers of bees might become. As well as their invaluable role as honey-makers, bees are prolific plant pollinators, and we rely on them to pollinate food crops and garden flowers.

The exact reason for the decline of the bee population remains unclear, although disease and loss of habitat are definitely important factors. Pesticides may be partly to blame. Bees need a diversity of flowers from which to take pollen and nectar (a honeybee will need to visit two million different flowers to produce 1lb of honey!) and it could be that farming single groups of crops over large areas of land is having an impact, or that extensive plant breeding has left many flower species infertile, and of no use to bees.

What is clear, however, is that we gardeners are in the prime position to help, as British gardens are effectively a giant nature reserve for bees. Considerate planting can provide a wide variety of pollen, and will also attract other beneficial insects like hoverflies to the garden, which will naturally prey on garden pests.

To maximise the positive effect your garden can have on the local bee population, follow these simple steps:

1. Try to plant native species of plants in your garden. It’s great to have foreign and exotic plants as well, but British bees have of course evolved to survive on British plants, so make sure you have a good selection of native plants.

2. Try to plant a variety of colours. Bees are particularly attracted to purples, blues, violets and yellows.

3. Try to plant a flowers in a variety of shapes, eg bell-like flowers, large blooms, trumpet heads etc. Generally, double flowers are not so great for bees.

4. Avoid using pesticides where possible. Try to achieve an ecological balance by planting wild meadow seed to deter aphids from your plants, and also to attract beneficial insects which prey on them. If you really need to use pesticides, avoid spraying when blooms are open, as this is when bees will be visiting.

5. Bees are active from March-September/October, and need a wide variety of flowers from which to feed. The list of plants attractive to bees (below) includes their flowering times, although this can vary depending on variety and weather. Where possible, try to have at least two ‘bee-plants’ flowering in the garden at all times during this growing season.

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Early Spring

(March/April)

Cowslips (Primula veris)

Daffodil

Erysimum

Forget Me Not

Hellebore

Heartsease

Lungwort

Pulmonaria

Pussy Willow

Ribes

Rhododendron

Nicotiana

Viburnum

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Alcea Rosea

Aconitum

Ajuga

Aquilegia

Astilbe 

Bergamot       

Bluebell

Borage            

Cornflowers     Catmint          

Cotoneaster  

Campanula     

Crab apple

Early Spring

(March/April)

Comfrey          Delphinium      Daffodil  

Dill

Digitalis

Evening Primrose

Echinacea        

Erysimum         

Fennel            

Forget Me Not 

Feverfew         

Foxglove    

Geranium       

Geum             

Gypsophila   

Honeysuckles  Heliotrope      

Heartsease     

Horehound 

Hawthorn

Lemon Balm

Lupin     

Marjoram       

Mint               

Verbascum

Angelica

Antirrhinum

Aubretia

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Aubretia

Bluebell

Crab Apple

Crocus

Marigold        

Nasturtium    

Poppy            

Pulmonaria     

Pussy Willow  

Potentilla       

Rosemary      

Rhododendron

Scabious        

Salvia             

Stachys         

Nicotiana

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Mid/Late Summer

(July/August)

Honeysuckles  

Heliotrope

Heartsease

Horehound     

Hyssop 

Lavender

Lemon Balm

Lupin

Marjoram

Marigold

Mint

Nasturtium     

Poppy  

Potentilla

Penstemon




Antirrhinum

Asters  

Astilbe

Buddleja

Bergamot

Borage

Cornflower

Catmint

Cotoneaster

Cosmos

Campanula

Chicory

Chives  

Comfrey

Dahlias 

Delphinium

Digitalis

Evening Primrose

Echinacea     

Erysimum

Echinops

Eryngium

Fennel 

Fuchsia

Feverfew

Foxglove

Goldenrod

Geranium

Gypsophila

Rhododendron 

Rudbeckia

Verbascum

Sage  

Scabious

Salvia  

Stachys

Savory            

Sedum

Sunflowers

Thyme 

Valerian

Verbena Bonariensis

Agastache

Aconitum

Anemone (Japanese)

Angelica

Ajuga

Alcea Rosea

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Mint    

Nasturtium

Potentilla

Penstemon

Rudbeckia

Anemone (Japanese)

Agastache

Antirrhinum

Asters

Buddleja

Catmint

Cosmos

Campanula

Chicory

Foxglove

Goldenrod   

Geranium

Heartsease

Horehound 

Early Autumn

(September/October)

Rudbeckia

Stachys

Savory 

Valerian

Verbena Bonariensis

Hyssop 

Lavender

Lemon Balm

Marjoram

Marigold        

Dahlias 

Echinacea

Echinops     

Eryngium

Fuchsia

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